Defined as “a surgical procedure in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body,” Tommy John surgery is most common among young college and major league baseball players. The late John Odom, a minor league player from Georgia, underwent the surgery most recently in 2005. His death was unrelated, but still carried a huge scar from the operation.
Seattle Mariner pitcher Ryan Feierabend will undergo Tommy John surgery this Spring and is hopeful to return stronger than before. The unfortunate reality is that it takes about a year to recover and most players don’t make it back to their full potential.
The surgery was first done back in 1974 on Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Tommy John. There is a 85 to 95% chance of full recovery and with a year’s worth of rehabilitation. The surgery is often performed on pitchers, due to the repetitive quick movements in their throwing arm. If only the result could be that of Henry Rowengartner, the fictious teenage phenom from the movie “Rookie of the Year.”